REVIEW: Britannia: Lost Eagles of Rome #1 by Peter Milligan, Robert Gill, Jose Villarrubia, Diego Rodriguez, & Dave Sharpe

Britannia: Lost Eagles of Rome #1 is out July 25.

By Zack Quaintance — Britannia: Lost Eagles of Rome #1 marks the first issue of the third volume of this series. I liked the last two volumes, but I’d somewhat forgotten just how good this book is. The answer, incidentally, is very very good.

Britannia is such an interesting conflux of two genres that don’t often meet: historical fiction and police procedurals. That setup is one of its strengths. Another arguably bigger strength is the attentions to both ambiance and character paid by writer Peter Milligan, obviously a student of mythology, the occult, and ancient Rome. 

The only discernible change from the first two volumes here (aside from plot, obviously) is artist Robert Gill has replaced Juan Jose Ryp. Ryp is one of the most intricate and detailed artists in comics, but Gill does his own thing here and does it well. It also helps the transition that it’s been more than a year since the end of the last volume. If you’re a returning reader just relax and enjoy...the book is as good as ever. If you’re a new reader, you can start with issue worry-free.

In fact, for Britannia newbies I’m fairly certain each volume stands just fine on its own. It’s been many months since the second Britannia book, and I’ve forgotten a lot that happened. Still, the creative team lies all the essential exposition out in a way that oriented me, and my sense is you’ll also be just fine if you’re totally new.

Britannia also stands apart from the rest of the Valiant Universe (no matter how badly I want the Eternal Warrior to show up). In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if it wasn’t set in it at all, although, admittedly, I may have missed an acknowledgment somewhere that it is. The reason I say this is because Britannia is grounded and realistic, mostly hinting at the occult and supernatural while leaving doubt as to whether it's entirely real. A good comparison might be Greg Rucka and Nicola Scott’s phenomenal Black Magick, which is set in the present day but uses mysticism sparingly as well.

The last thing it’s important to note is that while knowledge of ancient Rome perhaps enhances this book slightly, it’s not vital. Admittedly, my own knowledge of the Roman Empire is scant, and the only effect this has had on me is that when I finished the other volumes of this series, I went to Wikipedia to fill in gaps, which was kind of a bonus, one I hope will be useful for bar trivia someday.

Overall: I forgot how psychologically-complex and engrossing Britannia was until I started this new volume. This is a supremely well-executed comic, one I highly recommend to fans of both historical fiction and police procedurals. One issue in, it's just as good as its predecessors. 9.0/10

For more comic book and movie reviews, check out our review archives here.

Zack Quaintance is a journalist who also writes fiction and makes comics. Find him on Twitter at @zackquaintance. He lives in Sacramento, California.

Top Previews For the Week of June 18

By Zack Quaintance — In recent weeks, we’ve launched a semi-relentless campaign to be added to as many comic book publisher media lists as possible. Okay, full disclosure, this has been an ongoing campaign for some time. But recently there’s been success! Anyway, thanks to some good folks who do publicity for many of our favorite comic publishers, we’re now regularly getting previews to share with you.

As such, this is the first in a weekly series titled Top New Previews From Last Week, which is exactly what it sounds like. Below you’ll find promotional copy and photos from some of the most exciting previews that came our way last week, along with a lukewarm take, in which we give a brief reaction to the book.


Archie #32
Writers: Mark Waid & Ian Flynn
Artist: Audrey Mok
Colorist: Kelly Fitzpatrick
Publisher: Archie Comics
More Info: $3.99 / 32 pages / On Sale 7/11/18
It all comes down to this! The Riverdale gang—held hostage by Cheryl Blossom's father! Reggie—at last paying for his crimes! And when all is said and done, Riverdale is turned upside down once more!
Our Take: Archie has become one of those books that is so good we take it for granted, dating back to when Mark Waid and Fiona Staples relaunched it back in July 2015. This latest arc has been solid, too. Enjoy guilt free!

Britannia: Lost Eagles of Rome #1 (of 4)
Writer: Peter Milligan
Artist: Robert Gill
Publisher: Valiant Entertainment
More Info: $3.99 / 32 pages / On Sale 7/25/18
The Roman standard – the eagle borne at the front of each Roman legion – was more than just a symbol of the soldiers that carried it…It was a symbol of Rome itself, the ultimate embodiment of the empire’s power…

But now, in the mist-shrouded Germanic forest of Tottenwald, the unthinkable has happened: A rampaging barbarian horde has crushed three of Rome’s most highly skilled detachments in battle…and captured their mighty Roman eagles.

His authority threatened by this all-too-public shame, the mad emperor Nero has dispatched Antonius Axia, the empire’s finest “detectioner” and hero of Britannia, and Achillia, the sword-wielding champion of the gladiatorial arena, to reclaim his stolen relics at any cost.

But what began as a simple mission will soon become a terrifying journey into the dark heart of belief itself as the isolated woodlands of Rome’s enemies reveal unseen dimensions…and the true power of the legion’s lost eagles threatens to consume any who would pursue them…

Our Take: We’ve loved previous volumes of Britannia. The adventures of Valiant’s detectioner are as creepy as they are unpredictable. Some of Milligan’s best work (which is saying a lot), we’re all in for volume three! Also, for new readers these books really do stand on their own nicely.

Giant Days #40
Writer: John Alison
Artist: Max Sarin
Publisher: Boom! Studios
More Info: $3.99 / On Sale 7.4.18
Ed Gemmel returns to Sheffield after a summer spent healing bones and also his heart. Esther does her best to welcome him back, but neither of them have forgotten his drunken confession.
Lukewarm Take: Giant Days has been so good for so long, that’s it’s earning its place among all-time great slice-of-life comics. Powered by John Alison’s brilliant sense of character and dry wit, this book is a regular favorite of ours. Extra points for any issues featuring Ed Gemmel.

Harbinger Wars 2: Aftermath #1
Writer: Matt Kindt
Artist: Adam Pollina
Publisher: Valiant Entertainment
More Info: $3.99 / 32 pages / On Sale 9.26.18
The power’s back online and the fighting is over…but who are the real victors of Harbinger Wars 2, and what was truly lost in the carnage? For those who survived the terrible onslaught – and who must now witness the devastating aftereffects of their actions – will there ever be peace again?
Our Take: Harbinger Wars 2 is shaping up to be the Valiant Universe’s Civil War, and so far we’ve loved every moment of it. This event has done some deep, nuanced work with character motivations that is really paying off. Sign us up for this aftermath one-shot, too.

Moth & Whisper #1
Writer: Ted Anderson
Artist: Jen Hickman
Letterer: Marshall Dillon
Publisher: AfterShock Comics
More Info: $3.99 / 32 pages / On Sale 9.12.18
Everyone knows that the two greatest thieves in the city are the Moth and the Whisper. Very few know that the Moth and the Whisper disappeared six months ago. And what nobody knows is that the new Moth and Whisper are actually one person pretending to be both of them. One supremely skilled but uncertain young genderfluid thief: Niki, the child of the Moth and the Whisper.

Niki has been trained by their parents in the arts of stealth and infiltration, but they’re still just a teenager, and now they’re alone, searching for their parents in a hostile cyberpunk dystopia. Corporations run the streets while crime lords like Ambrose Wolfe run the alleys—identity is a commodity and privacy is impossible. The truth about Niki’s parents and their disappearance is out there, but can Niki survive long enough to find it?

A Young Adult cyberpunk thriller starring a genderqueer super-thief, Moth & Whisper is the brainchild of Ted Anderson (My Little Pony, Adventure Time) and Jen Hickman (Jem and the Holograms, The Dead), that just HAD to be told at AfterShock!

Our Take: AfterShock Comics has been on some kind of roll lately, with a slew of new books in 2018 that are high on quality and also rich with what’s becoming a trademark AfterShock sensibility—heavy on the thrills with a side of genre, be it science fiction, dark fantasy, or horror. This book has an interesting premise and one hell of a creative team.

Zack Quaintance is a journalist who also writes fiction and makes comics. Find him on Twitter at @zackquaintance. He lives in Sacramento, California.